CITIZENS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT

OBJECTIVE:
CADETS WILL GAIN A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING OF THE NEED FOR CITIZENS TO PARTICIPATE IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.


Advanced Citizenship
Knowledge and insight into the world of policing is something that is important to this community and to this country.

In the Junior Police Academy you will learn what police do and how they do it.

Why is that so important?

It's important because everything police officers do, everything the sheriff's department and the state police and the FBI and all the branches of law enforcement do...is done in your name.

Public safety is ultimately the responsibility of the entire community.

In a democracy, police officers draw their power from you.

What police do, they do in your name, and your father's name, your mother's name and every member of the community.

Police officers are entrusted with enormous power. They can detain you and, at least temporarily, deprive you of your liberty.

How that power is applied is ultimately a reflection of the community, of you, its citizens.

So understanding what police do is essential if you are to exercise your citizenship with wisdom and sound judgement.

Advanced Citizenship

Almost every country in the world has some kind of fundamental document, a constitution, if you will. A crucial part of any written constitution is the guarantee of citizens' rights.
In America, this is called the Bill of Rights.

It is in the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, that the most basic American freedoms are guaranteed - like the freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of the press. Americans sometimes feel dissatisfied with the policies and practices of those who govern.

But in fact, American citizens are ultimately responsible for protecting their own rights.


"In the United States we need the citizens to be educated so they can do their part when there are elections. You need citizens who understand the role of each branch of government because young people don't inherit the concepts through the gene pool, every generation has to learn it.


And that's true around the world - you need education, first and foremost about the system of government and how the citizens can play a role in it, and I think this is of critical importance."


Justice O'Connor



ARE YOU A GOOD CITIZEN?

As a nation based on the rule of law, we must also understand and respect the system we have built that enacts and enforces them, taking great care that those laws and those that enforce them do not favor the few over of the rest of us, especially the least of us. That requires your participation and constant vigilance.

That’s the only way our national motto “e pluribus unum” (out of many, one) can remain relevant for your generation and those to come. President John Kennedy, in his inaugural speech, noted that “the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans,” and it’s as true today as it was then.

So, you have a choice. You may accept that torch with all its responsibilities and implications and work in pursuit of a “more perfect union” or you can just sit back, hope others will do it for you, and pray they don’t mess it up. You can choose to make history or be a mere footnote in its pages.





Citizen Participation

A democracy, we strive to strike a balance between freedom and order. Imposing crime control measures may make us feel safer but also may endanger our civil liberties.

Discuss this with your instructor. Consider, for example the law crime rates in a police state, like the former Soviet Union. What was the trade off. Does freedom and freewill.

Seeking to freedom and order is a constant struggle. This ongoing conflict between crime control and due process values takes place within the context of a justice system that is unique in the world.

Define:  Due process is the legal requirement that the state must respect all of the legal rights that are owed to a person.



CITIZEN JUSTICE

Citizens, often a forgotten component of criminal justice, play a variety of important roles in American justice, and their involvement is crucial to the functioning of the justice system in a democratic society.

Let’s look at ways you and your fellow citizens are critical to public safety in the USA.

Reporting crimes and testifying in criminal cases

Citizen cooperation is absolutely necessary for the apprehension and prosecution of criminals. Almost all criminal proceedings have a lay witness who is a citizen bystander or victim possessing personal knowledge that is relevant to a criminal case.


Establishing and conducting mediation

Many communities in the United States have created reparative boards. Reparative boards remove cases from the criminal courts and resolve cases through mediation in a nonadversarial manner. They are designed to save money, allow victims to participate in the justice process, and reintegrate offenders into communities.


Lobbying elected officials

Citizens affect criminal justice policy through interest groups. Representatives of interest groups lobby lawmakers to pass legislation favoring the interests of the groups they represent.


The American Bar Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, and business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have significant influence at this level.


Some single-issue groups, such as the National Rifle Association (NRA), also exercise political clout on certain issues.


Raising public consciousness

Interest groups raise the consciousness of the public and elected officials about criminal justice issues. One example is the National Organization for Women (NOW). It has made people aware of the problems of battered women and has succeeded in getting policy changes that made domestic violence a crime rather than a family matter.


Performing jury duty

American criminal justice exhibits a strong commitment to a jury of lay persons. Juries provide important protections against the abuse of power by legislatures, judges, and other powerful entities; bring broadly based community values to deciding criminal cases; inject common sense into criminal justice decision making; and afford citizens opportunities to learn about the law and the justice process.


The Road to Citizenship


Some things to consider...
  • Arm yourselves with the knowledge to make good, even bold, choices, and never be afraid to admit when you’re wrong. Learn about how life looks from someone else’s perspective, to develop a more complete picture of not only our nation’s problems, but their possible solutions.
  • Be open to changing your mind when your heart tells you that something you’ve believed your entire life no longer supports your growth as a person and a citizen.
  • Never be afraid to ask questions, or to challenge the status quo, because there’s always room for improvement in any institution, especially government.
  • Try to see past a person’s appearance to the humanity inside, because it’s there you’ll find common ground.
    Partner with others to achieve what you feel you cannot accomplish alone. Start in your neighborhood, by working to make it a better, safer place to live.
  • Rally your friends and classmates to clean up litter one Saturday a month, or to play with special needs kids who are often excluded from activities on the playground because they aren’t able to play as well as you.
  • Volunteer to help quickly remove graffiti from the neighborhood as soon as it appears, or donate some time to a local animal shelter if you love animals and want to help them.
  • Invite new people into your circle of friends, especially if their background is different from yours. If you have lots of different friends, you’ll find after a while that the differences between you don’t matter as much as what you have in common.
  • As a cadet, you have partnered with your school and police department to create a safer learning environment for students and teachers, and to open lines of communication between your peers and police. Be an ambassador to other students and adults in your community by freely sharing what get out of participating in the program.


The Leader in You
The ways in which you can begin today to help build a stronger community are limited only by your ability to imagine them. When you see a problem, don’t just say “that’s terrible” and try to forget you ever saw it, get your brain working on it by asking yourself, “how can I help make it better?” You’ll be surprised at what you can do!